November Hedge a gram

My Hedge a gram is the time I take to write to you about my profession. I'm about to leave on the fall book tour for my new book, Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury. The publisher of my books, Penguin Putnam, chooses the bookstores I go to. It's up to the bookstore to plan my autographing party and let everyone in the area know I will be there to meet the kids, parents, teachers, and librarians who love books. I try to remember all the things people tell me at the booksigning.

I'm thinking of illustrating the story of Noah's ark, and I'll be asking children to name the animal that they would like to see in close up. I've already been to five booksigning parties and so far the animals are dog, cat, cheetah, dolphin, iguana, and llama. I will probably keep a little notebook, so I don't forget! When I illustrate Noah's Ark, I'm going to plan it as an alphabet book too. Luckily there are several animals whose names begin with the letter X.

Sometime when I go to a bookstore, the owner will ask me to talk a bit about my book. This year I'm going to draw a picture of Hedgie and tell about why he appears in all seven of the stories in the Treasury.

I'm going to challenge young artists as well. When I look at my book, which has seven of my stories side by side, I'm struck by certain similarities. The stories all have snow and the stories all have a hedgehog. My favorite ones all have a character that uses his or her creativity to solve problems. Now here's my challenge for you. Take seven of your own drawings, or if your are more inclined to be a writer, take your stories and put them a folder or paper clip them together. Put them away for a couple of weeks - then mark a day on the calender that's a few weeks away. Then spread them out and ask yourself these questions.

--What colors do I use, bright ones, or are they more subdued.

--Do I like big solid shapes or do I blend my colors.

--How many pictures use designs and patterns.

--Do my characters show emotion?

You can go on and on now that you understand the idea of it. You may surprise yourself when you see how good your are at drawing machines or fantasy lands or pretty clothes.

After you've finished you will find you've learned something new about yourself. That is the same with me. When I look at my Christmas Treasury one thing stands out, I remember events from childhood as if they are life lessons that I'm proud that I learned. Your childhood is precious too, and when you draw or write it's a good way to keep track of it so you won't forget.

I'd love to have you email me after you've discovered the special ties in your creative work. And in the meantime, maybe I'll see you or your teacher or your cousin or friend at one of my booksigning. Good luck!

Bye for now,

Your friend,

Jan Brett